Patricia C. Phillips

  • Allan Wexler

    During Allan Wexler’s exhibition entitled “Table/Building/Landscape,” the gallery resembled a laboratory in which the individual works appeared less as discrete objects than as the proliferating evidence of invention. The main gallery was dedicated to 30 propositions Wexler developed last spring for the DeCordova Museum Sculpture Garden. Each glass-and-wood vitrine contained a small model for an outdoor eating space tailored to the hilly museum grounds. Table and chair legs were extended with strapped-on appendages, wheels, or other peculiar amendments to accommodate the demands of the tipped


    I do not believe that history obeys a system, nor that its so-called laws permit deducing future or even present forms of society; but rather that to become conscious of the relativity (hence of the arbitrariness) of any feature of our culture is already to shift it a little.

    —Tzvetan Todorov, The Conquest of America

    ON THE FLOOR are two world maps. The one to the right is a conventional projection of the world; I remember that I got this particular map as a centerfold in a National Geographic magazine. To its left is another global map conceived by German geographer Arno Peters in 1974. Although

  • Perry Bard

    While many artists appear to address major political and societal issues in their work, the roster of those who can manage the fluttering balance of social agendas and formal strategies remains quite small. Equilibrium is difficult to achieve; one objective usually rises to the diminishment of another. With this exhibition of powerful confrontational sculptures and installations, Perry Bard raises the standards for politically engaged artists. Bard’s particular focus in this exhibition was the interpretation of justice. Her work is concerned with how the esthetic vision can construct the dimensions

  • Jerilea Zempel

    Jerilea Zempel’s Excess Volatility, 1989, looks like a captured beast. Located just south of a subway station in the Wall Street area, it resides in a triangular site that is completely enclosed by a black railing. Its stalking, crouched form suggests that it has been chased and bullied onto the site and is now protected, but trapped, by the surrounding urban armor. The temporary appearance of this object does not suggest run-of-the-mill public art; there is something startling and surreal in its occupation.

    Zempel’s sculpture combines industrial and natural elements. The carcass of the piece is

  • Martha Fleming and Lyne Lapointe

    Martha Fleming and Lyne Lapointe have collaborated for more than six years. Their first projects involved the political and esthetic reclamation of abandoned, decaying buildings in communities in Montreal. The buildings were revived through thematic explorations and installations of sculpture, painting, performance, and theater. In their two-room installation here, they inserted a restless, idiosyncratic collection of natural objects and personal treasures into the comparatively pristine contours of a museum. Fleming and Lapointe’s projects in Montreal required a gritty tenacity, a vision of

  • Neil Denari

    The stormy relationship between human beings and the machine has produced an enduring intellectual conversation that has sometimes degenerated into a deafening dialectic. Neil Denari brings a moderate and optimistic outlook to this subject. His work represents no angry stand-off between the human/natural world and the machine/constructed world, nor is he swept away by all of the grand, giddy possibilities of technological invention. He looks for how these reported adversaries can share objectives in common, how they extend each other Architecture, as much as any art form, embraces this dialectic,

  • Daniel Buren

    In his latest work, Daniel Buren continues a conceptual, formal, and painterly investigation of his great preoccupation—extremely ordinary, very disciplined lines of color. His familiar vertical arrangements of stripes of color alternating with white or light-colored lines once raised tough questions about the process of painting, the structures of perception, the production of art, and the conditions of the work’s surrounding space. Buren’s cerebral line of inquiry and commonplace patterns are the blueprints for and the control group of a range of experiments that can accommodate any combination

  • Stephen Rueckert

    Stephen Rueckert’s enormous sculpture The Standard Model (Abandoned), 1989, is inspired by particle physics, specifically by the vast accelerators that shatter minute matter, returning it to some essential state. It offers no clue as to what the diminutive components of particle physics might look like, but it operates as a fictive model that implies visually how the contemporary scientific process might operate. In its synthesis of precision and shamanism, Rueckert’s sculpture suggests the complex character of invention—the way in which discovery is both an intellectual quest and an act of

  • Petah Coyne

    In these two concurrent exhibitions, Petah Coyne’s powerful, instinctual work coalesces into a potent whole. The materials and formal syntax used for the large sculptures are similar, but Coyne uncovers rich nuances within each object’s precise parameters. Her installation at the Brooklyn Museum of three suspended hulks (all works, 1989) was momentarily startling and visually stunning. Within the vastness of this beaux-arts lobby, Coyne had arranged the dangling elements to establish an assertive dialogue with a difficult public space. The works read at the same time as a planned ensemble and

  • Aldo Rossi

    Aldo Rossi’s open-air Toronto Lighthouse Theater, 1989, was represented here by a model and some drawings. The model of the project is small, yet it skillfully captures the essence of Rossi’s work, its naive, brooding, and authoritarian qualities. This modest structure displays the architect’s formal language in a compressed situation. In plan, the theater is an elongated horseshoe. The rounded end forms the seating for the amphitheater; at the central point of the outer edge is a lighthouse tower for lighting and other production needs. The open end of the horseshoe is filled with a raised

  • Barbara Kasten

    Barbara Kasten’s elaborate photographic interpretations of prominent buildings require a daunting amount of research and preparation. Her strategy is first to select a building and identify one of its public areas. She studies, observes, draws, and begins to envision a particular photographic occurrence in that space. Aided by props such as mirrors and gels, she uses photography to expose an alternative, non-iconic dimension of the building that is ostensibly her subject. While the residuals of the process—the photographs—are frequently fascinating, I was far more intrigued by the artist’s

  • Anne And Patrick Poirier

    While the various pieces in Anne and Patrick Poirier’s recent installation stood out on their own, there was a strong sense of cumulative vision expressed in the ensemble. Entitled “Wandering into Memory,” it continued the artists’ investigation of and preoccupation with the idea and syntax of classicism. Theirs is an ongoing effort to understand the classical as a precedent and to assess its potency as a language and contemporary symbol. It is a grand obsession that produces occasionally erratic results. At times their powers of interpretation, modulation, and transformation of this stringent